Fifteen years ago tragedy struck the Delambre family, although what precisely occured has been covered up since, but now, as the wife of the husband whose demise triggered the heartache has died as well, her brother-in-law Francois (Vincent Price) is standing at her graveside with her now-grown son Philippe (Brett Halsey) and reflecting on the events that have brought him here. But he doesn't get a chance to ruminate long, as a reporter sneaks up and begins firing questions at them; Francois gives him a piece of his mind - but questions remain.
As Joe Bob Briggs once said in not so many words, if you're going to make a sequel then make sure it's exactly the same as the hit movie which inspired it or there will be trouble, advice that could have been inspired by the creators of this sequel to the bizarre science fiction semi-classic The Fly, which had been a major success in the late fifties. That was not so much down to any terrific skill in its manufacture, and more down to its killer premise (taken from George Langelaan's story) which saw a teleportation experiment go horribly wrong for its scientist when a housefly got into the cubicle, resulting in the melding of human and insect.
How could it fail with a notion like that? Well, it couldn't, and became a must see chiller of its day, so naturally a sequel was ordered, although this was notably on a lower budget, for a start it was in cheaper black and white where the original was in colour. But as Philippe has been poring over his father's notebooks, he feels he can bring his work to fruition, and his uncle Francois agrees to help with great reservations. Also along for the ride is Alan Hinds (David Frankham), who poses as his best friend but is actually involved with industrial espionage, and means to steal the secrets of the experiment for his own financial gain.
The original didn't really have a villain, but one was added to the mix here, and leads to the most memorable scene in the movie. Sure, later on the inevitable joining of human to fly happens, but before that Alan kills an inspector who has been snooping around and sticks him in the cabinet to get rid of the body - except that it's already been used to teleport a guinea pig. The animal is still in the ether, so when both body and it are brought back, the result is a corpse with guinea pig paws - and a live guinea pig with a man's hands and feet! This is hilariously weird, though Alan's reaction - he graphically squishes the hybrid creature under his shoe - has disturbed many an unwary viewer unprepared for something so brutal in a film of this vintage.
Unfortunately, nothing after that quite matches it for sheer grotesquerie, although they have a pretty good go. Director Edward Bernds (a veteran of The Three Stooges shorts) also penned the script, which he allowed to descend into typical run away from (and run after) the monster business, with the sabotaged Philippe transformed into a man with a fly arm, leg and of course head (a very big fly head, it must be pointed out), although the thought of lifting your hand to you face and feeling the texture of a giant insect carries a queasy frisson. Price, the sole cast member to appear in both the first and second instalments, does little but fret, while there's a strange mix of accents among his fellow actors with some American, some British and others French, such as imported star Danielle De Metz, yet another would be Brigitte Bardot clone who is present to scream on cue. Return of the Fly was about as good as you'd expect, nothing classic but amusing enough, especially in its unlikely claim that flies can be murderous (!). Music by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter.